tv Newsmakers CSPAN December 11, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm EST
duty to be good stewards of the resources that the public entrusts us with. you sometimes have to be kind of courageous in a meeting where everybody's head is going up and down, i think i have a different perspective. tonight at 8:00 p.m. on c-span "q&a." >> this week on "prime minister's questions," prime minister david cameron discusses safeguarding the britain interests while talking to eu leaders in brussels. the u is not part of the 17- member euro zone, but it is a member of the european union, which is 27 countries. "prime minister's questions" tonight at 9:00 p.m. on c-span. >> tonight, welcome.
two reporters with us, one from "the l.a. times" and one from the politico. lisa has the first question. go ahead. >> the countdown towards the holidays, the payroll tax extension and not getting this through before the holidays. what do you think? four times this has happened. what do you think? >> taking a tool hundred $60 billion wack at the social security trust fund. under the republican bill, which theoretically pays for it, it takes until 2018 to recover the
losses of social security. under the democratic bill, with the political millionaire's tax, it takes until 2021. that is three presidential terms from now, just to make up the one-year debt visit to the social security trust fund. social security is already running in the red. 10,000 americans qualify each day with the retirement of the baby boom. this would increase losses to the social security trust fund by 20 times, and the replacement that put in the trust fund, because under this law, you would not be contributing very much to the fund, are u.s. government bonds, but the consumers know that our bonds no longer have a aaa credit rating from standard and poor's. >> and chief actuary for the social security trust fund did send a letter to congress this week, saying it the payroll tax holiday is kept for 2012 that there would be no effect on the
trust fund, so it seems -- >> if -- it's as we would make up the losses with government bonds. he is a political animal. he did not say that the bonds no longer have a aaa credit rating from standard and poor's. >> under the current payroll tax extension, the difference -- >> the other thing, to interrupt you, you call it a payroll tax, which is a political code word from the white house. in the past, we called this contributions to social security, and that is what they were called on the roosevelt administration. it only became the payroll tax deduction two years ago when the white house decided to use social security as a cash cow for economic stimulus. i think we should return the language and then you should describe it as contributions, which is what it was. >> did you vote last year when
congress expanded -- extended this could >> i did. senator manchin and i did vote for this because we knew the economy was in free fall, and we were willing to do everything possible to help out, but we were told at the time that this was one year, that the trust fund would take a hit for only one year, and i think it was about $100 billion hit that seniors took. now, under political times, even when the one of claims the economy is growing, they want to have another 250 dollars billion party on the backs of social security. >> economists say this would shave off of gdp one percentage point. gdp is not expected to grow that much next year. >> i would argue actually that it did not. the economy is not in good shape. i would argue that we face a much more cancer risk from europe and a recession, which is
breaking out in europe, for affecting the united states, and i do not think temporary gimmicks which undermine the temporary strength of social security our allies. >> cindy anthony then, in order to protect social security, not only to protect today's seniors but future seniors, the answer is to lead the payroll tax -- >> no, you should not call it a payroll -- >> i am sorry. that just happen? that is the right policy? >> is the right lesson. one of the things we learned from europe is you cannot run this without contributions. remember, aarp will tell you that social security is not a welfare program. it is a welfare security program paid by contributions from the members. shifting this into the general fund on the government, which is substantially in the red and heavily dependent on borrowing from china is something that
seniors that would worry about more and more, and i think senior seven not to worry about as it is without the congress voting on a bipartisan basis to undermine it. >> two questions. number one, are you worried that constituents will worry to see their paychecks go down, or that that country should is returned to its original level, and do you have a concern about breaking the norquist tax pledge? >> nokomis first of all, we should run this so it is strong, and this legislation undermines social security. if you add the $100 billion loss from last year and it this year $250 billion, that is ace in the biggest hemorrhage from social security. as i said, the fund would not be repaid for two or three presidential terms. i set up an on-line poll for my constituents, 400,000 of them, and is said, "do you think that
we should do that in this way," and the answer is, we do not, we strongly support contributions to social security, and for me, there is a long-term goal here, which is right now, we're in a deficit crisis with a debt crisis raging in europe. the short-term borrowing needs of the united states are accelerated by this legislation. when you underfund social security by 250 dollars billion, that means that the u.s. government for a temporary time is going to be borrowing even faster, and given the collapse of greek debt, spanish debt, portuguese debt, irish debt, congress should not be passing legislation that accelerate u.s. borrowing. >> you are not against violating the pledge? >> this was a temporary tax gimmick, a holiday, that was imposed only one year ago.
as a fiscal conservative, i think that government should be smaller, but i support social security, and therefore, if you support social security klum additional support contributions to it, and as you say we should try to run social security without contributions are undermining the long term. i think we have made a commitment to seniors. we know that 10,000 are retiring each day and that already the program is running approximately $10 billion in the red. if you pass this legislation, cutting contributions to social security as the president outlined, we will run to wondrous $70 trillion in the red. >> this is not just what the president has outlined. house speaker boehner and your leader mitch mcconnell in the senate are all in favor of extending this benefit, because they say it is not the time to
hit americans, 116 million working americans, with a tax hike. and out liar and the party, even the presidential candidates, mitt romney and newt gingrich, has said even though they may have problems around the edges with it, they believe the tax should be extended. >> that is why joe manchin and i have teamed up. the democratic senator from west virginia and i as a freshman senator from illinois on the republican side, we both say we should not undermine seniors this way. we should not try to run social security without contributions and that a piece of legislation which increases social security losses by 20 times, causing those losses to replenish with u.s. government debt that does not even have a aaa rating from standard and poor's anymore is irresponsible. >> and then to move on to other topics, but it really is not being removed with the debt.
>> you are totally wrong on that. you are factually, completely wrong. >> ok. stimulus cuts elsewhere in the budget. >> know. you are totally and utterly wrong. >> ok. >> part of what you need to do is learn about this more, because if you ask cbo, "how are the losses replenished," you will find under the republican plan to the cuts to make up for this, the cuts do not replenish the trust fund until 2018. you need to know that. you do not know that, but you need to know that. >> i understand the 10-year repayment plan, a one-year benefit as a 10-year repayment plan. >> and remember, it is paid with what? additional borrowing. who does that borrowing? you have to ask that question. the u.s. treasury. and what is that? government bonds.
are the triple-a-rated anymore? according to standard and poor's, no. isador do you feel more secure as the senior knowing that we have gone to pay contributions to government debt and knowing that that government debt is no longer seen as the highest quality debt, you absolutely need to know these details, because this is part of your economic future as well as others. >> it sounds to me but what you're saying is that mitch mcconnell and all of the others in favor of this art willing to rob seniors. >> and voted on this four times. i voted against the democratic bills and both republican bills, and joe manchin has voted against this four times, as well. we have a growing number, i think last and 20 voting against the republican bill that did this to social security, and i think that we are wisely
concerned that you cannot run a retirement security program without contributions. >> if i can follow up on the leadership question of it, because someone said that your leadership, mitch mcconnell, is out of step with his rank-and- file, and he came out before the vote, the vote where many republicans said no, he said, "i have a majority sentiment for this." >> clearly, the republicans are divided on this now. i think a fiscally responsible position is to defend social security, to not find it without contributions, and we should not increase losses to the trust fund by 20 times. definitely, he is right. he is paying benefits by increased borrowing by the united states, but as we all know, u.s. bonds simply do not have the quality, according to standard and poor's, that they used to. >> did you have a conversation
with your leader, mitch mcconnell? >> we did, and believe on the floor, and there is a difference of opinion. the long term financial future of the country should not be on shrinking the size of a government where it needs to be reduced, but for those areas of the government that to support, for example, i support having the department of defense, i support social security, then you should adequately resources and, you are not increasing the deficit of the united states, and as we see the lessons so clearly in europe, the europeans have tried to run retirement security programs with tremendous amounts of borrowed money. that is exactly what the president is calling for, and i think that is a mistake. >> if we can switch to another topic, to go where you are in the majority. an overwhelming majority. you recently had something
passed in the senate which is now moving. could you explain for viewers a little bit what that amendment does and why the in administration is fighting you so hard? >> it is a bipartisan amendment that passed 100-0 in the senate. in these partisan times, when do we have a 100-0 vote? it was under the objections of the obama administration that this past. the atomic association says that iran is getting close to having a nuclear reactor and having a separate stream to their military, of designing a warhead, having an electrical generator for it. normally, there is a spark that initiates the explosive. an electrical generator is only needed for a nuclear weapon. on top of that, we know of the iranian support for terror,
hezbollah and hamas. iran is now the central pillar of the dictatorship in damascus. we know that 30,000 have been kicked out of school. the interior ministry has registered all of their houses. this is a movie we have seen wearing different uniforms in a different country, and we are worried about the same outcome, so what we have said is we should take the strongest non- military means possible, and that is to pick up on what the obama administration has said, that the central bank of iran is the century it -- central money launderer for terror and for the republic of iran, and our amendment says if you do business with the central bank of iran, you may not do business with the united states. it is forced to trigger every financial institution in the world between the shrinking iranian economy and the $14
trillion u.s. economy, but we worked with the administration, especially senator menendez. in the item which says the president can delay sanctions, and we put a catchall kind of get out of free national- security waiver. but after the and administration one these six sessions, -- won these concessions, they turned right around and oppose senator méndez in a hearing. it was said that we do not believe that you should support it at all even though it has the waivers as indicated by senator méndez, and not one senator stood with them. >> it was fascinating to see that 100 to 0 vote. whistle-stop is so unusual in these times, as you said. in secretary brighteners letter,
he also mentioned -- as secretary geithner's letter said, the evidence that the obama administration, what they were doing, and to be warned that he was worried that this measure, this amendment would interfere with the those and send the wrong message to allies and others that the illustration is working for to impose sanctions on iran. what is your response to that? clearly congress disregarded that, but what is your response? >> the washington post put it best. on friday, the washington post had a stinging editorial blasting the obama demonstration, saying you're concerned about the iranians getting close to a nuclear weapon, the statements about wiping israel off of the map,
and at the same time, anytime you oppose anything that would cause pain on the iranians, then you do not want to take action. essentially, the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, described a plot to blow up a georgetown restaurant in order to kill the saudi arabian ambassador to the united states -- by the way, they killed others, as well. we are talking about not military action but effective sanctions. the amendment has waivers in it. the amendment actually takes weeks if not months for the actual sanctions to be imposed. the way you look at international oil markets, there are several big fees. number one, the war in libya is over, and the libyan oil production is set to double in just the next six months. number two, the war in iraq is over, and their production is expected to increase. number three, we are expecting a
pretty deep recession in europe now, said demand is going to go down as europe goes through a debt driven recession, and number four, the oil markets appear to be responding to a significantly higher saudi production, possibly done to hurt the iranians. they reached out to say, "we would like you to on hook off of iran. we would like to meet your needs grow " increasing supply. the concerns that the administration as do not look like they are well grounded in reality. >> we have about five minutes left, center. have passed sanctions worked on iran, and how would these be different? >> ironically, according to the imf, the iranian economy grew faster than the u.s. economy last year, so i do think we need stronger action, but there are those who have said you cannot
get a country to forgive nuclear-weapons and let go, but that shows an ignorance of the historical record. south africa gave a nuclear- weapons. kazakhstan. ukraine. argentina. brazil. taiwan. they all decided to go away from nuclear or more directly, libya gave up on its nuclear weapons production, so i think we ought to take the strongest non- military means. otherwise, our kids inherit a very dangerous 21st century, and remember, the president of iran, ahmadinejad, he is the only head of state regularly talking about wiping a regular u.n. member off of the planet. of the over 170 members, we do not have a head of state talking about destroying another member of the u.n. this directly. this is fairly unique. >> should the united states and its posture to be to provide
support? just stay out entirely? >> israel is a fellow democracy, and they will take action to protect their future so israel survives the 21st century. israel and eliminated the iraqi program, and a far less but just as dramatic mission, and they eliminated the syrian program in 2007. this is going to be one of the most hotly debated issues in the israeli cabinet, but i think, what have the israelis -- why did the israelis only one option, a military option? this is why our amendment, with 100 to 0 votes in the senate, with the strongest non-military means is the best way to make sure our kids do not inherit at 21st century awash in nuclear- weapons. >> we only have a short time left. if we can move on. >> shifting from the middle east
to another contentious issue, the presidential primary. >> we did the illinois pre- presidential primary paul, the first ever for our state. it was bigger than ohio, florida, california. mitt romney got the first, and this was our first. the average illinois congressman is a republican, even though it is the home state of barack obama. we have certainly seen the white house with deteriorated numbers, even in illinois. >> are you planning to make an endorsement? it is your local papers and local television stations, they feel you are on the verge of endorsing mitt romney. >> i have not made any endorsements. my personal focus is the congressional delegation. for example, we had a major announcement on thursday that congressman walsh will be
running in a new congressional district. >> you are supporting him? >> he made a major announcement. we will have one of the earliest primaries in the country in march, and we still do not know what the congressional map is. the federal court is reviewing the case and has now made the decision to delay filing, which appears to indicate that the court is preparing to overturn the democratic map, so we have got a couple of stories to go. >> on the continuing resolution set to expire next friday, appropriators meeting, set to announce some kind of deal monday, tuesday. >> right. we have two major pieces of legislation left to go. i think congress will be in until the 23rd. the two pieces that i would look at is the appropriations bill, a sort of an schmeltzer of borg of omnibus measures, and then congressman upton has a name for
the other, which is the extenders, unemployment insurance, possibly the cut to social security contributions, etc. in there. because the first is a conference report, it is privileged, cannot be filibusters in the senate -- filibustered in the senate. therefore, the politics in the house are far more interesting than the politics of the senate. but the other, that is anybody's bet where that one goes. >> can i ask you, how do you feel about the keystone pipeline? will you potentially support that? >> i am in favor of it. i hope that it goes through. we will see what the final legislation looks like. i do think it would be a tremendous political mistake by the white house to veto legislation simply because of
authorizes one of the biggest job producing energy projects in the country. >> can you see yourself voting for a final package? >> at this point, it is so undefined. a number of special interests, tax provisions. also, remember, i think any member of congress should be inclined to vote against legislation if it is more than one lender pages long, and it is coming hot off of the xerox machine and you only had one hour to read it. at that point, you should pretty much be attending know. >> thank you for joining us on "newsmakers." and we are back with our reporters from the politico and "the l.a. times." let me begin with you. we heard from the senator. he is not for degreasing contributions to the social security funds. others are saying it would be a tax hike on the payroll tax if
you let it expire. what is the reality in the house and the senate approved does it go through? >> the reality is that they will extend this payroll tax that president obama wanted last year and that they gave him last year. there will be no political pain for everyone, or in january, when there is political paid for everyone. everyone's pay checks will go down. you will see your paycheck reduced if you work in this country, so if it gets to this point, they will quickly be back to pass the payroll tax cut, and my guess is that it will happen before they leave town before christmas. >> and what we saw was this divide in the republican party. speaker john boehner and mitch mcconnell have been working hard to get support for extending this tax provision in 2012, and they have faced a lot of resistance. one of the obstacles they have had to overcome is exactly what senator kirk was talking about.
i know the -- there was a meeting last week. they were trying to make the point to the rank-and-file republicans that they do not think this will impact social security, but clearly, others like the senator think it will. >> it is not just on the senate side. there is difficulty on the house ought, as well. >> absolutely, but we did see a shift among the house gop when speaker boehner unveiled his latest proposal. it has all these extra policy provisions that republican lawmakers support, like the keystone pipeline project, which was mentioned. so you are seeing the house republicans began to coalesce around this. i think it is tuesday on the schedule. >> you are either going to see a reduction in money going into social security, or as the senator pointed out, you will
see debt increase, because there has to be something to pay for it, and i think that is the point he is making. there are a lot of people in washington to talk about the rise in debt but also benefits back calm, and this pits two things against each other. the tax and the social security benefits potentially, so we are in a different place now than we were 10 years ago or 20 years ago. there is a limited set of budget options, and in order to pay for the tax hike -- >> and i think what the senator was a voice in was the skepticism that a lot have. here in washington, they are called pay fors, paying for a tax break that is going to happen. a lot of the rank-and-file republicans do not buy that. they do not think that this spending cuts will happen, and that is why you are seeing a lot of that resistance. everyone gets hit with an
average $1,000 tax hike. >> if you give me $1,000 a year over the next 10 years, i would be happy to pay you back over the next 10,000 years. one year and a tenure payment. that is an amazing dichotomy there. >> ride, and you are seeing the pushback. that is the difficult battle speaker mccain -- mitch mcconnell and speaker boehner have. to find out what is the right course in their party to do. >> we will leave it there. thank you. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> throughout my military career, a kind of prided myself on not being afraid to tell people what i thought. the worst thing you can